ThrowbackThursday: Rafting in the Yarra, 1985

#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to 1985 and the Candlebark Park carpark just in time to catch an adventurous soul taking a dip  in the Yarra below the Fitzsimons Lane Bridge. No bikini for this keen swimmer, rather a Holden Gemini seemed more the go. Seems the Gemini twins couldn’t decide whether to go to Templestowe or Eltham. Or perhaps it was a late entry in the Great Yarra Raft Race of 1985?

A Holden Gemini in the Yarra River at Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
A Holden Gemini in the Yarra River at Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
At least the Ford entry could float, Great Yarra Raft Race, Westerfolds Park, Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
And the Jeep could float as well, Great Yarra Raft Race, Westerfolds Park, Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
The Great Yarra Raft Race, Westerfolds Park, Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
The Great Yarra Raft Race, Westerfolds Park, Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
The Great Yarra Raft Race, Westerfolds Park, Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
The Great Yarra Raft Race, Westerfolds Park, Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
The Great Yarra Raft Race, Westerfolds Park, Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
The Great Yarra Raft Race, Westerfolds Park, Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
The Great Yarra Raft Race, Westerfolds Park, Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)

We recently digitised an album containing these images of the car in the Yarra and the Great Yarra Raft Race but apart from the date of 1985, have very little other information to record about them.

Does anyone remember this incident and the circumstances? Were there any news stories at the time about it? Or were you involved in the Great Yarra Raft Race? Any details or stories are greatly appreciated.

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ThrowbackThursday: Approaching Eltham from Research, February 1968

#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to Main Road and the approach to Eltham shops from Research nearly 50 years ago. It was February 1968 and big changes were in stall for duplication of the road from Bridge street all the way to our vantage point just near Elsa Court.

Looking south along Main Road from just north of Elsa Court, Eltham, February 1968 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).

We can see the shops in the distance and a few cars on the road and on the left hand side are three houses. They are gone now of course and in their place are the Eltham Mind & Body Clinic and Maroush Restaurant. We are not sure who occupied them in 1968 but if we jump back another 30 years to circa 1937 we see the same three houses.

Main Road, Eltham looking south from north of Diamond Street, c.1937 showing sheep being driven down the road towards the station. the houses on left were owned by (from left), Lowerson family, Mowatt family and Mrs Pratt (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).

In the 1930s these three houses were the homes (from left) of the Lowerson family, Mowatt family and Mrs. Pratt. At a casual glance it does not look that much different from 1968; progress moved at a slower pace back then as you can well see by the sheep being driven along Main Road. Imagine coming across that scene today!

Looking south along Main Road from just north of Elsa Court, Eltham, c.Nov. 1991. Note the signs for the upcoming Eltham Festival held 8-11 November (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Looking south along Main Road from just north of Elsa Court, Eltham, Sept. 2016 (Google Street View).

ThrowbackThursday: E.Gadd’s – Prohibition?

#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back 87 years to March 1930, Main Road, Eltham where Edward Gadd runs his Blacksmith and Coachbuilding operations. They were located roughly where the gardens in front of the Eltham Community and Reception Centre is situated today.

Edward Gadd (with hammer) and Harold Norman of Research outside the Blacksmith shop on Main Road near Pitt Street, c.March 1930. Note all the schoolboys with them, one of whom may be a young Jock Read. (Photo from the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society; donated by Mr Velkamp)

Edward Gadd who was a native of England operated his blacksmith business in Eltham for about 17 years (1920-1937) and had a high reputation in the community for the quality of his work. He lived in Research and was actively involved with the Research Hall having been largely instrumental in its establishment. Gadd always wore leggings and played the violin at local dances. Accompanying him would be Sam Howard who played banjo and Mrs Read (Jock’s mother) who played piano by ear. He  died of pneumonia on July 22nd, 1937, leaving behind a wife and three sons, one whom was in Albury and the other two in America. (1).

The poster on the wall of the business is promoting a campaign to protect vineyards by voting No against Prohibition. This would date the photo to c.March 1930 when a vote was being held by the Victorian government to introduce Prohibition. Vineyard growers were opposed to Prohibition due to the ramifications it would have upon the wider industry for dried fruits and table grapes, etc. It was also perceived as being seen to be in direct conflict with the Commonwealth government’s actions to place former WW1 soldiers into vineyards through the WW1 Soldiers Settlements program given the potential of Prohibition to ruin them finacially. (2)

Following Gadd’s death, the blacksmith business was promptly purchased by Mr P. Sloan of Warrandyte who intended to commence operations on Monday August 2nd, 1937, opening on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays or more frequently if demand warranted. (3)

Lowering of the time capsule – In November 1985 a monument was installed near the corner of Main Road and Pitt Street in Eltham, within the gardens at the front of what is now the Eltham Community and Reception Centre. This monument commemorates Victoria’s 150th anniversary and the former location of the Eltham Town Centre, which existed along this section of Main Road, then known as Maria Street. Beneath the site is a time capsule to be opened in the year 2035. A plaque was also erected at this site in October 1987 to commemorate the Shire of Eltham Historical Society’s 20th anniversary. (Photo: From the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

The blacksmith shop is memorialised today with a monument and time capsule installed to commemorate Victoria’s 150th anniversary and the former location of the Eltham Town Centre. The main feature of the monument is a ‘tyring disc’; a blacksmith’s implement that was found on this site. This consists of a large iron disc that was used as a platform for fitting iron tyres (like the one shown on top of the platform) to wooden spoked cart wheels. The local blacksmith and wheelwright worked together to assemble the wheel, which was clamped to the platform placed close to the fire. The red hot iron hoop, previously forged to the correct size was lifted with tongs by the blacksmith over the outside of the rim, then hammered down amid flames from the scorching timber. The wheelwright drenched the tyre with cold water as soon as it was in position. A clamp placed on the naff (hub) and screwed down tightly kept the spokes at a constant angle as the tyre cooled. An even pressure from the contracting tyre tightened the joints at each end of the spokes and formed a vice-like grip, which would last for the life of the wheel.

References:
  1. 1937 ‘Death of Mr. Edward Gadd.’, Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic. : 1922 – 1939), 23 July, p. 1. , viewed 12 Oct 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article56845399
  2. 1930 ‘HOW VINE GROWERS WOULD BE PENALISED’, Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic. : 1922 – 1939), 28 March, p. 4. (AFTERNOON), viewed 12 Oct 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57762063
  3. 1937 ‘ELTHAM’, Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic. : 1922 – 1939), 30 July, p. 3. , viewed 12 Oct 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article56845449

 

 

October Meeting – A 50th Anniversary Panel of EDHS Members

Eltham District Historical Society Meeting

Wednesday, 11th October at 8pm

Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham

Eltham Festival Parade, 11 November 1989; Main Road near the corner with Arthur Street. Society President, Sue Law, and Junior Vice-President Doug Orford carry the Society Banner leading the parade float. The Shire of Eltham Historical Society’s parade float featured a gold mining theme – “The Eltham Goldrush” (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)

As this meeting is close to the 50th anniversary of the first meeting of the Shire of Eltham Historical Society, on 24th October 1967, we will appropriately look back on our own history. This will include a panel of members who will highlight some of our experiences and achievements along the way.

As a special 50th anniversary treat we will have the opportunity to view, for the first time, a video reflecting on the first 50 years of our Society. This video, produced by Gerald Ashcroft from www.storiestobetold.com.au, is based around interviews with Russell Yeoman and Doug Orford about their recollections. Gerald has generously donated his expertise and time to provide this video as a valued gift to EDHS on the occasion of our 50th Anniversary.

As at all of our meetings, new members and visitors are most welcome.

ThrowbackThursday: Kids of Rock, Eltham Barrel, 1989

#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to the intersection of Kalbar Road and Main Road, Eltham, circa April-May 1989. We recently digitised some negatives covering Main Road from Beard Street to Kalbar Road. The roll of film included the new Food Plus at the corner of Beard and Main (previously featured as the Eltham East Service Centre) and the newly built shops opposite the Food Plus. And closer to Kalbar Road was the new Eltham Gateway Motel and Conference Centre under construction. At Kalbar Road is Eltham Garden Nursery, now a 7-Eleven and car wash and next door Eltham Garden Supplies, now Webster Farm and Garden. But what really excited us was the discovery of a never before seen photo of the Eltham Barrel as viewed from Main Road and an advertisement for the upcoming entertainment on May 12 (presumably 1989); a Joke Night featuring Shane Bourne as well as the Kids of Rock with Brian Cadd and Max Merritt. The Barrel had been purchased by former Sydney Swans footballer Mr Paul Morwood and his wife Linda in December 1988 and by all reports, business was improving. Unfortunately it was burnt down by an arsonist on the evening of June 4th, 1989 so the Kids of Rock may well have been one of the last entertainments put on at the Barrel. The loss of the Barrel certainly led to a change in the built landscape at Kalbar and Main.

View to the Eltham Barrel from Main Road looking up Kalbar Road, c.Apr-May 1989. Note advertising for Kids of Rock concert with Brian Cadd and Max Merritt and Joke Night with Shane Bourne at the Barrel on May 12. The Eltham Barrel was destroyed by fire on the evening of Sunday, June 4th, 1989. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
The Garden Nursery at 1419 Main Road, Eltham at the corner of Kalbar Road, c.Apr-May 1989. Now a 7-Eleven and car wash. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
The Garden Nursery at 1419 Main Road, Eltham at the corner of Kalbar Road, c.Apr-May 1989. Now a 7-Eleven and car wash. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Eltham Garden Supplies, 1431 Main Road, Eltham, c.Apr-May 1989. Now Webster Farm and Garden. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)

Do you remember the Eltham Garden Nursery? Did you landscape your new home with plants from there? Did you get your landscaping supplies from next door? And did you go see Shane Bourne, Brian Cadd and Max Merritt at the Barrel? What was it like? The sign is clipped so we don’t know who was performing with Shane Bourne, but if you went and remember, we’d love to hear your stories.

Looking north along Main Road towards the intersection with Kalbar Road, Eltham (Google Street View Jan. 2010)
Looking north along Main Road towards the intersection with Kalbar Road, Eltham (Google Street View Sept. 2016)